[ Contents ]
Organising local partnerships
The partnership matures
4.2 Gradually establishing an order of things
As it evolves a partnership is obliged to tackle the question of decision-making
A clarification of positions, however gradual, is essential, as conflicts
can arise - privately or in the open - which drain a great deal of energy.
Overcoming the tensions this problem generates is a sure sign of durability
and will carry a partnership beyond the point of no return.
There being no ready-made solution (and such a solution would in any event be
simplistic), methodological discussion will take the heat out of the debate by
clarifying the terms of the problem and the questions that need to be answered
in order to produce a solution tailored to each particular case.
Aside from the inevitable personal conflicts, clashes generally grow out of
disagreements as to the expediency, indeed legitimacy, of choices entailing allocation
of funds with which some partners are not happy. For instance, those making the
decisions may be highly tempted to sacrifice the long term to the pressure of the
short term, to apply programmes and budgets as quickly and simply as possible to
predominantly material investment (facilities and amenities) with instantly
In addition, there may be conflicts of an ethical nature regarding the right to
take decisions, this right being all too easily left with whoever holds
the purse strings.
Division of powers is essential, for:
- it prevents an institution from being the judge in its own case, and leaves
no doubt as to the powers and responsibilities of each individual;
- it establishes a multi-tiered system, preventing excessive pressure from
interest or other groups during decision-making.
Division of powers is a guarantee of the proper functioning of local democracy,
which lies at the heart of a dynamic partnership.
It is important also to legitimise these various powers, identify their
different functions for development and come up with new types of interrelation
to enhance the participation, effectiveness and responsibility of all those
involved in the decision-making process.